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Fermentation in Italy & Japan: Tradition and Innovation. A Symposium and Workshop in Rome, italy

Call for Papers and Fermentation Workshops

Organized by

Borromini Institute, Gustolab International and the Food Studies College of Japan

The Borromini Institute seeks presentations for its inaugural Symposium/Workshop to be held in the spring of 2023.  This Symposium, focusing on fermentation practices in Italy and Japan, extends Gustolab International’s  long-term interest in food studies to include microbial fermentation.  Recent advances in core sciences have provided us with new ways of understanding the roles of single-cell organisms in preserving food and, by drawing comparisons between Italy and Japan, we hope to build on the strengths of still viable fermentation communities in both of these cultural and environmental areas. It should be noted that while fermentation communities are experiencing a rebirth they have been placed at risk by the depopulation of rural areas in both Italy and Japan.

We seek presentations from experienced practitioners focusing on any fermentation craft as well as presentations from experts in related fields including the evolving social contexts of fermentation communities.   We hope to create new conversations linking microbiology with field studies (what are the similarities between climate and terrain in these areas and how do they shape microbiota fermentation communities?) as well as conversation between local craftsmen creating innovative products for new consumers.

We plan to publish presentations in our Occasional Papers Series. From the Fall of 2023 we also plan to present courses in our student and adult education programs in Italy and Japan on fermentation.   

The Borromini Institute is an affiliate of Gustolab International. 


Academic Presentations and Workshops:  Thur May 11 – 12, 2023 

Optional Practicum (Field Study): Saturday May 13 – May 14, 2023


The Symposium will be headquartered at the Borromini Center in Rome’s historic center and sessions will take place in historic venues nearby.

Covid Logistics 

At present our plans are for an in-person symposium.  Virtual options may become available as the symposium date approaches.


English will be the symposium language with some translation available into Japanese. Presentation notes or summaries will be requested from presenters and made available to participants.

Submission Process & Timeline

Presentations may be either for Academic Papers or Fermentation Workshops. We welcome presentations and workshops that deal with fermentation practices developed in either Italy or Japan as well as those that compare or contrast fermentation practices in these areas.   We also welcome presentations or workshops focusing on innovative fermentation practices and new products linked to traditions developed in either area.

Academic papers will be presented in English, 20 minutes in length, and will include 10-15 minutes for questions and answers.

Most workshops will last 20 – 30 minutes and will demonstrate one or more fermentation processes.  Recipes or other supporting documents are requested. As necessary, please include a facilities request with your abstract (e.g. equipment such as cookware, gas burners etc.).

Submission instructions

Please submit 1) an abstract of 250 words for Academic Papers or Fermentation Workshops  and 2) a bio (250 words) listing your major accomplishments and interests concerning fermentation to

Please note that we would like to include a summary of your presentation in Borromini Institutes new Occasional Papers series.  This could be a copy of the paper or, for workshop organizers, a powerpoint, perhaps with photos of the presentation.


October 1, 2022: Abstract and bio submissions due.  Please send abstracts as well as any questions to:

December 15, 2022:  Papers reviewed by planning committee and presenters notified

January 3, 2023: Registration begins.

April 15 2023: Registration and fee deadline.  

May 1 2023: Final payment deadline for optional practicum


A registration fee of US$300, including opening and closing receptions and some organizing costs, will be charged. A list of reasonably priced accommodations and restaurants in Rome’s historic center will be available.  Costs for optional site visits will be announced at a later date. Financial Aid may be available for qualified applicants. 


Transdisciplinary Dialogue: Climate Change Italy

As educators, we are obliged to help all of our students– regardless of discipline– understand the extraordinary moment in which we are living and its potential for change. For this reason, Gustolab International Italy/Borromini Institute organized the Transdisciplinary Dialogue: Climate Change Italy in Spring 2022, adhering to the Worldwide Teach-In on Climate and Justice, of the Graduate Programs in Sustainability at Bard College, in conjunction with partners worldwide and the Open Society University Network.


We thank our guest discussants: Claudio Bordi (architect / planner expert of European projects and Lead Expert in the European URBACT program) – “GenerACTOR project”); Andrew Kranis (architect, professor, American Academy in Rome Fellow, designer with Whole Foods USA),; Mika Hisatani (sommelier, embarking on a project dealing with the UN SDG‘s and agricultural / food chain practice in Italy); Antonio Lopez, Ph.D. (Chair & Associate Professor of Communications and Media Studies, John Cabot University); Giorgio Scavino (European Advisor DYDAS project – EU Projects Department – ANCI LAZIO); Daniel Faber, Senior Research Fellow, Global Center for Climate Justice (Boston); Manuela Mariani, Youth4Planet Lazio contact person, and Isabel Colmenares, student intern at Retake Rome.


We also thank all the students from SLDV, HWS, Sapienza University and more who participated in this dialogue.

Two generations of winegrowers, one shared path

An invitation-only side event of the 2022 Vini Selvaggi Wine Fair in Rome, “Two generations of winegrowers, one shared path” is a discussion with winemakers from two different generations who will discuss topics ranging from agriculture to sustainability while taking into consideration the impact of economic, ecological and cultural changes over time. Moderated by communicator and narrator Matteo Gallello. Speakers will include: Marino Colleoni of Podere Sante Marie, Elena Pantaleoni of La Stoppa, Theo Zierock of Foradori, Giampiero Ventura of Le Quattro Volte, and Silvia Tezza of Il Roccolo di Monticelli.


The event will be held at Borromini Institute/Gustolab International in collaboration with YPR, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Rome Center, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges Rome Center.

Rise for the record – Rise against Hunger

To show commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #2, Gustolab International partnered with Rise Against Hunger Italy during the ‘Rise for the Record’ event that took place on World Food Day (October 16) in 2018. The event simultaneously took place in multiple locations around the world with volunteers who assembled Rise Against Hunger’s hunger relief packages in just 5 minutes. The event in Rome included students from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Washington, Roma Tre University, UNINT, ISIA and the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci in Rome.  Students then had an activity where they learned about the Sustainable Development Goals and specifically Goal #2 Zero Hunger.

Our partner, Rise Against Hunger celebrated its first 20 years of commitment and actions against hunger in the occasion of the event.

SDGs For All Majors

During summer 2018, we organized an interactive event entitled SDGs For All Majors with students from the Summer 2018 Auburn University Mediterranean Diet Program, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Summer and Internship Program and the UMass Amherst Critical Studies on Food in Italy program.
The goal of the event was to promote dialogue regarding the SDGs and sustainability among professors and students from different departments and universities. The results of the discussions will be summarized in a publication that we will share with our networks at the end of 2018. The event was part of the Festival dello Sviluppo Sostenibile 2018, European Sustainable Development Week 2018 and CEREALIA – La Festa dei Cereali 2018 programmes.

Our speakers were: Michael Greene, PhD (Auburn University); Alice Julier, PhD (Chatham University); Ferro Trabalzi, PhD (GLi); Marko Zivkovic, PhD (University of Alberta); Roberta Baldazzi (Rise Against Hunger Italy); Frank Mangan, PhD (University of Massachusetts); Paola Sarcina (Cerealia Festival Director).

Seventh International Conference on Food Studies

The Seventh International Conference on Food Studies was hosted by Gustolab International and Roma Tre University on October 26 and 27, 2017 in Rome, Italy. The two days included paper presentations, workshops/interactive sessions, posters, and colloquia. 225+ delegates from all over the world attended and over 33 countries were represented.


Founded in 2011, the International Conference on Food Studies provides a forum for research and practice-based discussions, in a time of growing public and research awareness of the relations among diet, health, and social well-being. The conference provides an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of: agricultural, environmental, nutritional, social, economic, and cultural perspectives on food. 

Food+City Jeffersonian Dinner – Reimagining the Last Food Mile

In 2017, we collaborated with Food+City to organize a Jeffersonian Dinner.  Key thought leaders were invited to discuss how we can improve the food supply chain.  In 2017,  Food + City held these dinner discussions in three cities, Austin, Rome, and New York City.

Food EXPOsures: 10 Food Stories

Between May and October 2015, we organized 10 events about food in Rome and Milan to celebrate 10 years of activities and the EXPO 2015.

In Rome, we hosted the following events: Food for Security, Food for Education, Food for Better Future, Food for Tradition, Food for Health, Food for Ecology, Food for Learning, Food for Gender, Food for the Territory, Food for All and the City. 

Event with Ben Simon – Food Recovery Network

Gustolab International partnered with the U.S. Embassy in Rome in designing and organizing a series of events related to the EXPO 2015.

On May 22, 2015 GLi held an event with Ben Simon, Founder and Executive Director of the Food Recovery Network.

Round Table with Marion Nestle – Food Politics 2015: Issues and Controversies

On May 8, 2015, Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor at the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health and Professor of Sociology at New York University gave a talk at the round table on ‘Food Politics 2015: Issues and Controversies’ in Rome. This event was organized in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy to Italy.

We would love to hear from you.

Do you want more information about applying to our programs, developing a short thematic program or simply to learn more about our work? Click on the button below to fill out a short contact form.
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